I first got involved in an adult Sunday School class when I was in college (years ago). Soon I was asked to serve as a care group leader. I was given a list of members and asked to keep in touch with them. It was my first opportunity to do ministry and it opened my eyes to the possibilities. The next year, I was asked to serve as an outreach / evangelism leader. For the first time in my life, I shared my faith with an unbeliever. Both of these ministries in an adult class provided an opportunity for me to try out ministry and see how God could use me.
Finally, I was asked to substitute teach. What a challenge. I can’t believe how long I spent preparing that first lesson and how fast it went. But God blessed and I discovered more about how God had gifted me to serve. God used all of those experiences (and a deepening personal devotional life) to help me see that He was calling me into vocational ministry.
My point is that when we provide opportunities for people to serve in a Sunday School class, we give them a chance to try out ministry in a safe environment. We give them a chance to see how God has gifted them and discover how God is calling them to serve. If the ministry doesn’t work for them, they can try out something else. (By the way, it works for student classes too.) For most people the service won’t be vocational ministry, but God has called all of us to serve.
Our goal is life transformation, not communicating information. When we provide structure and opportunities for people to serve, God uses the service to transform their lives.
Do people have a chance to serve in your class? Can they try out ministry? Do you provide opportunities such as fellowship leaders, prayer leaders, care group leaders, outreach/evangelism leaders, or apprentice teachers? Give people a chance to serve and see their lives transformed.
Bob Wood is the Church Growth Ministries Team Leader, Baptist State Convention of Michigan. His desire is for churches to be more intentional about fulfilling the Great Commission.